Persian presence at Avataran ‘22 by October Octaves

Iranian musicians Asal Malekzadeh and Ali Seriri talk about their life and art

Iranian musicians Asal Malekzadeh and Ali Seriri talk about their life and art

Iranian musicians Asal Malekzadeh and Ali Seriri were recently in Bengaluru to perform at Avataran ’22, the annual concert presented by the Octaves of October. Asal is a percussionist specializing in the daf, a kind of Iranian tambourine, while Ali plays the kamancheh, a bowed string instrument used in Middle Eastern music.

Although the duo performed together at various events, this was their first time collaborating outside of their homeland and their first trip to India. “We regularly travel to many foreign countries to hold workshops and master classes and work with different musical groups,” says Malekzadeh.

Malekzadeh, who plays all kinds of percussion instruments – drums, congas, cajons – says he fell in love with daf when he was around 12 years old. “I felt that he set the rhythm of my heartbeat. It is a dynamic instrument. I can play other instruments too, but daf is special to me.”

For Seriri, too, her enchantment with kamancheh began in pre-adolescence. “Most musicians at home play kamancheh and daf; our traditional musical instruments.” “Ali started out playing tombak (a goblet drum) as a child, before giving the kamancheh his heart and soul,” says Malekzadeh, translating from Persian.

Ali Seriri in Avataran '22

Ali Seriri in Avataran ’22 | Photo credit: Special Arrangement

Hailing from the city of Kermanshah, Seriri is a versatile musician who has performed with many international artists. In the last 10 years, in addition to recording albums, he has also composed soundtracks for films in Iran.

Talking about what inspires his work with daf, Malekzadeh says: “I love the vibes it produces; It’s like my heart is beating out of my chest.” While Malekzadeh’s creativity seems more practical, Seriri’s experience is quite transcendental. “Making music transports you to another realm,” she says.

After his performance in India, Malekzadeh goes to Denmark for a recording. She also has an upcoming show in France and workshop in Spain. Seriri, on the other hand, returns home to Tehran to compose tracks for a next movie.

Asal Malekzadeh in Avataran '22

Asal Malekzadeh in Avataran ’22 | Photo credit: Special Arrangement

Since its creation in 2015, Octavas de Outubro has always brought together musicians from different genres with the aim of awakening musical awareness in the city’s residents. Titled ‘Avataran ’22’, this year’s event saw Rajhesh Vaidhya, Abhijith PS Nair, Giridhar Udupa, Keith Peters, Jeoraj George, Sandeep Mohan, Mahesh Mani and Joe Johnson perform with Malekzadeh and Seriri.


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